Leading up to Wednesday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning— on the ice and off the ice.
Cheering "The Star-Spangled Banner" at United Center has been a long-standing tradition for Blackhawks fans. From Wayne Messmer belting it out in the 1980s and '90s to Jim Cornelison today, the anthem has been a special moment inside that building for a long, long time. It's a pretty cool moment when Cornelison sings “and the flag was still there” and gestures toward the stars and stripes hanging from the rafters. He can also shatter beer mugs with his pipes. (OK, that may have been rigged.)
Located not far from MacDill Air Force base, the Lightning have used U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sonya Bryson as their singer at Amalie Arena since 2013. Bryson is in uniform each time she performs and the scene is perfect as she’s surrounded by the color guard and, at times, veterans. It’s as patriotic an anthem as you can get.
Advantage: Even. Being inside United Center and feeling the energy when Cornelison sings the anthem while Blackhawks fans cheer is cool. But Bryson has turned into a good luck charm for the Lightning as the team went 19-6 during the regular season when she performed, according to the Tampa Tribune.
There are only two other rinks in the NHL that are larger than United Center — Bell Centre and Joe Louis Arena. The 19,717 that have regularly filled the “Madhouse on Madison” can expand to well over 20,000 when standing room is involved and has done so since the Blackhawks’ franchise turnaround post-2004-05 lockout. The place gets loud during the National Anthem and continues hit some pretty decibels during victories, which has been often since Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup conquest.
Not to be outdone by United Center’s size, Amalie Arena can squeeze in nearly 20,000 fans, and with the investment done by owner Jeff Vinik, the area surrounding the rink has become a pre- and post-game destination for fans. In 2012, a $5 million HD scoreboard was installed and is the largest center-hung video display in the U.S. and Canada. Not only that, the Lightning has freakin’ Tesla coils hanging from the rafters that go off during the game.
Advantage: Amalie Arena. The scoreboard makes us wish we could spend a couple hours playing NHL ’94 on it. Also: Live. Tesla. Coils.
The Blackhawks’ logo has evolved over the years, but their jersey design has stayed pretty much the same since the mid-1950s. During the mid-‘90s alternate jersey craze, they didn't alter their logo, only adding a black design to their legendary red and white jerseys. Their logo is iconic, but not without controversy given the backlash toward sports teams using Native Americans as team names and logos. In an effort to educate, the Blackhawks have worked with the American Indian Center to help promote the history to fans.
Tampa re-did their logo in 2011 and got rid of the silver circle that the lightning bolt went through, the look they had since the franchise’s inception in 1992. It’s a much better design. It’s cleaner and both the home and road jerseys are solid. The black BOLTS alternates? Not so much.
Advantage: Blackhawks. They’re a classic look and — this goes for both teams — it’s nice to see home jerseys that aren’t all black.
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: